Author Kazuo Ishiguro, alumni of UEA’s school of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing (LDC), has been awarded the 2017 Nobel prize in literature for his “novels of great emotional force.” The author is the first LDC graduate to be awarded the prize.
Ishiguro, who was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954, moved to the UK when he was five and joined UEA’s MA course in Creative Writing in 1979, graduating the following year. Since leaving UEA, he has published seven novels including the critically acclaimed works ‘The Remains of Day’ and ‘Never Let Me Go’. Ishiguro has also written a range of screenplays and short stories.
The Nobel prize awarding institutions explained their motivation for giving Ishiguro the prize is that he is a writer “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.”
Commenting on the prize, Ishiguro said: “This is amazing and totally unexpected news. It comes at a time when the world is uncertain about its values, its leadership and its safety.
“I just hope that my receiving this huge honour will, even in a small way, encourage the forces for goodwill and peace at this time.”
Speaking to the BBC the newly announced Nobel laureate added: “I thought that in this age of false news, I thought it was perhaps a mistake. [sic] I only started to believe this was true when the BBC rang me.”
Professor Christopher Bigsby, the director of UEA’s Autumn Literary Festival – which Kazuo Ishiguro is due to speak at tomorrow (Wednesday 11 October) – said Mr. Ishiguro’s work is “characterised by a tightly controlled prose and concerned people, on the fringes of major events, who committed themselves to the wrong cause.
“A theme which runs through all his novels has to do with characters trying to make sense of their lives, that and a concern with memory. The question is whether recalling the past is necessary or whether there are dangers.”
The Nobel prize is Kazuo Ishiguro’s tenth award for his literary work. The author was previously awarded the Booker Prize in 1989 for his novel The Remains of Day, and also the Costa Book of the Year for An Artist of the Floating World.
In fact, all of Ishiguro’s larger literary works have been shortlisted for major awards excluding A Pale View of Hills and The Buried Giant.
Vice-Chancellor Prof David Richardson said : “Norwich is England’s first UNESCO City of Literature and this is in no small part due to UEA’s creative writing courses.
“Nothing could make us prouder at UEA than a Nobel Prize winning alumnus and I’m absolutely delighted for Kazuo Ishiguro.”
Alison Donnell, Head of UEA’s school of LDC, called the award “a tremendous honour and well-deserved for a writer whose writings have touched readers globally, with their intricate renderings of human experiences and the particular hold of memory.
“The literary magnificence of his fiction is captured in Kazuo Ishiguro’s capacity to transport readers effortlessly and powerfully across the time and place and urge them to reflect on what matters most.”